Traditional Saddlery Training With Barrie Swain – Day 2

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The second day of the training took place a few days ago.  Despite being cut short due to a power failure we did quite a lot.  The main task that was completed was the attachment of the webbing, the base upon which the saddle is built.  We also attached the initial components for the seat.

I asked Barrie about the modern foam that we were using for making the seat.  I wanted to know what would have been used in Victorian times.  The reason why he used this modern material is that it is far superior in comparison to what was used in Victorian times.  This foam lasts longer and is more comfortable for both horse and rider.

The lesson learned here that although it is quite a romantic effort (silly to some) to stick to traditional methods completely one must consider the purpose and outcomes and in this case it seems that the advantages of using this foam are too great to ignore.  I do not like the idea of using a material that is potentially toxic, at least in terms of production and disposal.  However in this instance the material will be in use for many, many years.  Having said that I dream of making a Victorian saddle using all of the materials and methods that would have been used in Victorian times.

There were some discussions about how a Victorian made saddle differs from a modern saddle.  Things like the distance between the webbing and the horse’s back and things like the careful tensioning of the longitudinal webs in order to produce a smooth curve.  Also the placement of the webbing to ensure that the anatomy of the pelvis is taken into consideration.  Lots of fine details that I can see will lead to a saddle that is comfortable for both horse and rider.

In the next session we will continuation the making of the seat among other things.  In the meantime I hope the time-lapse below will give a sneak peak into what happened on day 2.